green tea

Hida Beef-A New Japanese Beef In NYC

by Anne Maxfield on September 19, 2016

accidental-locavore-hida-beef-slicesDo you love red meat?
If you think you’ve eaten great beef, you probably have, but not as wonderful as the Hida beef at EN Japanese Brasserie!
The Accidental Locavore was invited to cover  the launch of Hida beef in the US for The Daily Meal.
It’s an incredibly rich, well marbled beef (think Kobe or Wagyu).
Raised in Gifu Prefecture, in the mountains of central Japan, where they say the 4 gallons of spring water the cattle drink in a day is responsible for the taste of the meat.
Another factor is that the Hida-gyu is raised for 14 months, almost twice as long as Wagyu beef.
Picture large black cattle prowling around the mountains, lapping up spring water for over a year, acquiring their signature “marbling, luster, color, texture and aroma.”
accidental-locavore-hida-beef-chefWe got to try it four ways.
First up, slices cooked in a magnolia leaf with special local mirin, thinly sliced scallions and a hint of ginger, served on a grilled rice cake.
Across the room, a sushi chef draped the beef over flavored rice and hit it with a blow torch to give it a quick sear. Think about the best tuna sushi you’ve ever eaten and you get the picture.
accidental-locavore-searing-hida-beef-sushiAlso raw, a version of steak tartare, with the beef cut in thin ribbons in a light sauce and garnished with uni and tiny pansies. A nice, light preparation of a rich meat.
accidental-locavore-hida-beef-tartareMy favorite dish was the fourth one. It was a trio of seared Hida beef slices, each topped with
something different. One with sea salt, another with Rokusuke salt (a umami blast made from preserved natural matsutake mushrooms, konbu kelp and preserved scallops, condensed with a secret technique and infused into the salt and not apparently sold in the US), the last with ponzu sauce (my favorite of the three).
accidental-locavore-seared-hida-beefAnd what goes better with great beef than sake? A dozen different types will also be launched in Manhattan and, like the beef, be available in limited quantities until they’re sold out.
For something non-alcoholic, there were glasses of iced cold-brew green tea. Not a fan of green tea, this changed my mind and those of most of the people standing around me. It was light and refreshing, not over-brewed, tannic or powdery-tasting and dull, like most green tea.
accidental-locavore-green-tea-for-hida-beefSadly, like the Rokusuke salt, only available on your next trip to Gifu.
If this sounds delicious (and it was), you can experience it at seven local restaurants for two
weeks beginning September 8th or until supplies run out.
Raid your 401K (the beef is sold to restaurants at about $450 a pound) and go out and enjoy this
limited luxury!
accidental-locavore-making-hida-beef-sushiFor more information about events in the city, head for the website: http://www.feelgifu.com/2016/08/30/the-cover-nippon-new-york/
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Have You Ever Been to a Tea Tasting?

by Anne Maxfield on November 16, 2015

Accidental Locavore Holiday Blend TeaThe Accidental Locavore was invited to a tea and coffee tasting recently to promote Smith Tea and Stumptown Coffee, and to preview some of Smith Tea’s holiday offerings. For as much tea as I drink, it was the first time I’d actually been to a tasting.

When we walked in we were greeted by tea maker Tony Tellin, who handed us a small cup of Ali Shan, an Oolong tea with a lovely floral, citrus flavor. It hasn’t been released yet, but check back on their site for it.

Accidental Locavore Tea TastingSmith was envisioned as a luxury tea company and everything they do represents an almost obsessive attention to bringing the best in tea to their customers. All the teas are whole leaf teas and the boxes are batch numbered so you can find out exactly where your tea came from.

This could all be a little too precious, but while Tony is all about making great tea, he comes at it from a fun, experimental place.

Following the Ali Shan, we switched to a Mao Feng Shui green tea. Tony told us that the best green tea comes from the spring harvest and this was an April harvested tea. It had a light, floral taste and not the sort of strange, grassy taste I always associate with green tea.

Next up was my go-to breakfast tea, Earl Grey. Being fussy enough to have my Earl Grey brought over from England, I was curious to see what their blend would be like. They source the bergamot from Italy and blend it with teas from Ceylon and India. It’s a little fruitier than my usual smoky blend, but interesting-playing up on the citrus notes of the bergamot.

Accidental Locavore Smith TeasThen we moved on to the special holiday blends (soon to be released) Tony had been working on. He’s been barrel-aging teas in barrels used for local spirits. The first one he’s calling White Christmas, as it was made from white tea aged in white rum barrels for two months, along with chrysanthemums and pears. It had a lovely floral scent with a mild flavor and a hint of the pear and rum.

Another special blend was the Georgian Caravan. It’s actually so special it’s signed and numbered (and you’d better move fast, my box is 415 of 475). Russians add jam to their tea so along with this smoked Ceylon tea there’s a jar of huckleberry jam to be stirred into your cup.

Accidental Locavore Georgian CaravanWe also got to taste some experimental blends that may or may not make it into the holiday line-up. There was a mulled black tea that had been aged in Aquavit barrels with clove, cinnamon, roasted hazelnuts, cranberries, star anise and coconut.

Bonus points to you if you know what moringa is. For the rest of us (who don’t watch Dr. Oz), it’s the latest super-food. In case it sounds too healthy, Tony mixed it with tea, sarsaparilla, licorice, orange peel and Jameson Whiskey for an interesting blend with a slight smoke from the whiskey, but a little too much licorice for my taste.

Besides all the special teas we got to taste, Smith Teas has a large selection of teas on their website. And while they may be a little precious (they are from Portlandia after all), the teas I’ve tasted have all been really good, so give them a try or gift them for the holidays.

 

 

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